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Diversity in Wine

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Golden Beaver
British Columbia, Canada
     Stop sniggering there. The Beaver is Canada's National Animal and the vineyards are located on the 'Golden Mile' in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.

      The winery is owned by Stella Schmidt and Bruno Kelle who grow thirteen different grape varieties in 8 acres of Vineyards, and they chose their winery name to be fun,Canadian and memorable!

      I really must get to Okanagan; it is on my list of must-visit wine regions.

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Red Heart
Buckingham Vintners
South Australia
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      This is the first wine I have seen that makes a direct health claim. The reflective red seal at the top of the label (which unfortunately doesn't scan well) proclaims HIGH ON ANTIOXIDENTS.

      The back label says 'Antioxidents can help inhibit free radicals that occur naturally in your body. Free radicals can damage your health, so a wine that is high in antioxidents has got to be good news." They say that they "used a variety of techniques to make sure the wine picks up as many antioxidents from the grapes as possible". They don't actually say that drinking this wine will 'inhibit free radicals' but the implication is there.

      This is a bulk shipped English bottled wine by UK importers Buckingham Vintners. Both health claims and wine labels are rigorously policed by various authorities and I didn't expect this label to last long, but the wine has proved popular and has been followed by one sourced from Chile that is said to have an even higher level of antioxidents.

      I found the wine a little soupy and over sweet. I can understand its popularity, but sadly not with me.

Red Nose Red
Saam Mountain Vineyards
Paarl, South Africa
Red Nose Day is a major bi-annual fund raising event for Comic Relief in the UK. The red nose refers to a the bulbous scarlet facial appendage worn by clowns and was adopted as a symbol by the professional comedians who started Comic Relief in 1985.

      The wine business has always been an active supporter, in the past by running a parallel ‘wine relief’. For 2009' two Red Nose wines have been launched, both sourced from South Africa’s Saam Mountain Vineyards near Paarl. Red Nose White is a Chenin Blanc and Red Nose Red is a Pinotage blended with some Shiraz (an ancient French cross between Dureza and Mondeuse blanche).

      Tasting notes for the wine from Jancis Robinson MW and Tim Atkins MW read "This hearty and full bodied red brims with goodwill, bramble perfume and raspberry fruit. Drink with friends and partner it with anything you feel like eating."

      The wine costs £4.99 in UK supermarkets of which £1 goes to Comic Relief. But don't think of this as a bargain basement £3.99 value wine. Importers Bibendum reckon that, without the donations of those involved in producing the wine it would be priced above £6. "SAAM, Erbin and Multiprint provided wines, capsules and labels respectively at cost, while JF Hillebrand, Quinn Glass and all of the retailers are working at reduced margins," they say.

      At no extra cost, Red Nose wines come with an art work by Damien Hirst. The label is a Hirst work titled A Red Nose, being a raised shiny red circle on a dull matt grey background. The label on my wine easily peeled off, so get a frame and you can have a Hirst work on your wall. Much better than a pickled shark :)


Red Nose Red Pinotage/Shiraz 2008 is a tremendously attractive wine with a scented nose, brimming with ripe loganberry fruit flavours, and an almost jammy sweetness.

     But I think my friend Andy Barrow over at Spittoon has really nailed it. Andy likens the wine to picking blackberries in hedgerows. I went blackberrying last summer and and he has it spot on.

Good wine, designer art and charity, all in one £4.99 bottle. Rush out and buy
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8 February 2009